Eremocarya (Boraginaceae), a resurrected segregate of the genus Cryptantha, has recently been recognized as containing two species: E. lepida and E. micrantha. These two species differ in nutlet shape, nutlet size, and features of the corolla, including limb width, presence or absence of a prominent yellow coloration at the fornices of the corolla center, and, perhaps most importantly, presence or absence of distinctive “fornix bodies” at the corolla mouth. Here we present evidence for a large-flowered form of E. micrantha that we argue should be treated as a new taxonomic variety, which we call E. micrantha var. pseudolepida. In nutlet morphology, E. micrantha var. pseudolepida is very similar to E. micrantha var. micrantha and different from E. lepida. Eremocarya micrantha var. pseudolepida differs from E. micrantha var. micrantha and is similar to E. lepida in corolla limb diameter and in having a tendency to possess a prominent yellow coloration in the corolla throat. However, E. micrantha var. pseudolepida lacks the distinctive fornix bodies of E. lepida. This new variety of E. micrantha is generally geographically discrete and allopatric relative to E. micrantha var. micrantha, with virtually all known populations occurring in Baja California, Mexico, between approximately 28° and 32° north latitude. However, two contiguous populations of a large-flowered E. micrantha were discovered in southeastern Arizona. In addition, one population of E. micrantha var. pseudolepida, in the central part of its range in Baja California, appears to be sympatric with a disjunct population of E. micrantha var. micrantha. We feel that the morphological distinctiveness and near geographic discontinuity of this entity warrants its status as a new taxon. Future molecular studies will be needed to evaluate the phylogeographic history of this intriguing complex of plants in order to evaluate both character evolution and taxonomic delimitation.
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